Kim Cooper and David Smay
320 pages, Feral House 2001
Bubblegum pop (also known as bubblegum Rock, bubblegum music, or simply bubblegum) is a genre of Pop music with an upbeat sound contrived and marketed to appeal to pre-teens and teenagers, produced in an assembly-line process, driven by producers, often using unknown singers.
Bubblegum's classic period ran from 1967 to 1972. The second wave of bubblegum started two years later and ran until 1977 when disco took over and punk rock emerged (some critics have claimed bubblegum influenced punk).
The genre was predominantly a singles phenomenon rather than an album-oriented one, the presumption being that teenagers and pre-teens had less money to spend on records and were thus more likely to buy singles than albums. Also, because many acts were manufactured in the studio using session musicians, a large number of bubblegum songs were by one-hit wonders.
Among the best-known acts of bubblegum's golden era are 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Ohio Express and The Archies, an animated group which had the most successful bubblegum song with "Sugar, Sugar", Billboard Magazine's No. 1 single for 1969.
The book excels at showing the human side of these mostly forgotten artists and their producers. Also included are pieces on bubblegum progeny of the 1980s and 1990s, including Britney Spears. And there's more: surveys of the media as it relates to the music, the international scene, and various bubblegum artifacts. An excellent "Recommended Listening" section and a useful index round out the volume. Full of illustrations of classic album covers and artist photos, this quirky and entertaining book is recommended as a reference for all comprehensive music collections. University libraries should also purchase for popular music studies collections.